I Am Belmaya
Born into poverty and orphaned at a young age, Belmaya Nepali has faced discrimination and hardship her whole life. With little education and stuck in an abusive marriage with a young daughter, she fears that she is doomed to be like so many other women in Nepal, totally dependant on her husband with little control over her own life. However, everything changes when she’s given the chance to train as a documentary filmmaker. When she picks up the camera her creative spark is reignited; she now has a voice to tell her story and challenge the social norms from which she escaped.
I Am Belmaya (co-directed by Sue Carpenter and Nepali) tells the story of the filmmaker’s journey. It’s an uplifting tale of determination and passion that teaches audiences that anything is possible with enough commitment and vision. It’s a message that will undoubtedly resonate with thousands of young women around the world and hopefully inspire them to pick up a camera, a paintbrush or a pen for themselves to tell their stories. And it’s for this reason that the piece works as a fascinating deconstruction of why documentaries are powerful tools of expression.
In addition to its inspirational message, I Am Belmaya is also a raw and deeply intimate reflection of the filmmaker’s own life. Outside of her training, Belmaya negotiates a difficult home life while raising her daughter. And by placing herself as the central subject in her own film, she opens a window that allows audiences to get to know her and her background on the same level. There’s no barrier between artist and subject; nothing is off limits here, and interviews with Belmaya’s husband add further dimensions to her world and story.
As well as being a remarkable tale of an extraordinary person, the genius of this documentary likewise lies in its thoughtful examination of the genre and the subsequent impact. In other words, it works on every level.
I Am Belmaya is released in select cinemas on 11th October 2021.
Watch the trailer for I Am Belmaya here: